Rethink use of overseas aid
The likelihood is our foreign aid budget, enshrined in law as 0.7 per cent of GDP, is not likely to be reduced any time soon.
With this in mind, we should look at spending this money more effectively with more clearly defined and targeted goals.
The UK only hit its 0.7 per cent GDP target by including the UK’s contribution to the European Union’ s development aid budget (€56.5 billion in 2013), much of which goes to EU states butis also allotted as structural aid delivered as the EU saw fit.
This is why UK tax-payer’s money ended up as structural aid to Zimbabwe, via the EU, despite a block on all such from the UK itself.
At the moment, a good portion of our aid money is not managed according to our priorities and is disconnected from our taxpayer’ s oversight.
Once we regain control of that money, we should use it to pilot schemes with one goal –the economic empowerment and independence of African countries, particularly those in the Commonwealth.
This would not be traditional structural aid, with its vulnerability to corrupt wastage or embezzlement.
These would be targeted programmes with extensive oversight and auditing from the UK. One sensible programme might be to require any UK company who wins a tender for a project financed by structural aid to provide a large number of proper apprenticeships and training positions, split equally between UK nationals and citizens of the country in which the project is taking place. As this would be funded by money allocated to foreign aid, it would provide a good number of real apprenticeship s without imp acting on the UK’ s education budget, improving our skills base while building ties and improving self-sufficiency in the recipient nation. Margot Parker
UKIP MEP Small businesses